The small space on tiny Cleveland Place in Nolita has been rechristened several times since its first appearance as part of the Bar Veloce family. (First Bar Veloce, then Bar Tonno, then back to Bar Veloce.) In 2009, it took a small step away from its siblings and became Veloce Club, the first in the mini-empire to offer a cocktail list.
The trademark horizontal wine bottles are still present, but stretch beyond the bar to the lounge area, evolving into a wood panel print. The decor is reminiscent of a gentleman's club in the early sixties—sleek and masculine, but funky as well. Two lamps flanking the bar have lampshades made entirely of aviator style sunglasses. (Don't try to steal a pair). The dapperly dressed barman pours drinks from a cocktail list of classics and carefully chosen original creations, many of which channel the Veloce spirit by using Amari (Italian digestifs) and grappas.
The ice is hand molded into either gorgeous spheres or more traditional cubes, spirits are thoughtfully infused, and metal straws add a classy touch. Doug Singer, who created the cocktail program, admits that his drinks are always a work in progress—but his eyes light up when he describes his infusion experimentations, or the time he takes to squeeze fresh ginger juice for cocktails and homemade ginger beer.
I'd advise you to take advantage of Veloce Club before the secret gets out. The Clockwork Orange, an all-spirit combination of Gosling's Black Seal Rum, Averna, Cointreau, and cinnamon-infused grappa is an amazing winter warmer—but if you're looking for something lighter that you can easily recreate at home, the Sicilian Sling is the way to go. The soft tang of the blood orange juice mixes beautifully with the rhubarb bitters, and the mini-umbrella that Singer perches on the glass is certain to bring an extra smile to your face.
2 oz. Plymouth Gin 1 oz. blood orange juice 1/2 oz. lime juice splash of simple syrup 2-3 dashes of Rhubarb Bitters
Combine ingredients and shake over ice. Strain into a cocktail glass and top with soda. If you'd like, garnish with a lime wedge.
17 Cleveland Place, New York NY 10012 (map) 212-966-7334
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